Sit and squeeze.
May 25, 2016 by Jason Liebgott in Instruction with 1 comments
It’s fun to throw a disc, pure and simple. The better I can throw, the more I enjoy it and, in my not-so-humble opinion, improving at something is where quite a bit of the joy happens. Plateaus and stagnation are not fun.
Let me be clear: I am also a work in progress. I am not touting myself as having perfect form; I do stupid stuff all the time, but I do work on it and I try to catch my issues and fix them. As is very common, I will improve in one area, only to give up gains in another area. With that in mind, the drill we’re talking about today has helped me to battle an issue that I have struggled with for ages and, hopefully, will be a tool for you.
Working on form is a bit of a catch-22. What starts as a casual foray into a soccer field with stack of putters to work on your swing can be an emotional roller coaster of frustration. It is tough and counter-intuitive to develop a reproducible, controlled, balanced, and powerful shot. As we start messing with form changes, whatever consistency we had will dry up like a wet thing in a dry place.
Metaphors are not my strong suit.
So let’s kick off this series with a video that focuses on forcing you to do a couple fundamental things correctly. This is the “Feet Together” drill and you may have seen similar instruction for baseball or ball golf to promote a balanced front side plant foot to brace your weight against.
I really like this drill.
When I’m giving a lesson, I use this drill to force a player to find his plant foot instep and to stop him from swaying from behind his back foot. It also helps with learning to brace your weight to stop you from catapulting past the plant foot.
Let’s break down the “Feet Together” drill and five fundamentals that it promotes.
1. Shifting into the brace, leading with your backside
Lightly moving from having weight on the ball of the back foot to the toe of the plant foot is not just a forward movement. You want to drive the hips forward with the trailing hip moving forward, then as the plant foot goes “toe down, heel down,” the hips brace up against your femur. This is easier to see and do than it is to describe.
2. Braced weight against the front side
We focus on staying inside our invisible A-Frame so that we don’t tilt our spines forward or backward. By bracing our weight against the instep of the plant foot with our plant leg being firmed up, we should be able to push as much power as needed into the system and remain balanced and in control. A vertical spine from the top of the backswing through the extension will help tremendously with balance. Note that this doesn’t mean that you don’t lean over the disc to various degrees to throw hyzer or anhyzer. This just means that you don’t want your axis of rotation smushing back to front.
3. Weight on your insteps with the squeeze between the knees
How we connect to the ground is a fundamental aspect to generating power and staying balanced. I’ve personally worn out the phrase “back heel OFF the ground” while giving lessons. I know it feels comfortable and balanced when you’re standing still to use all of your back foot, but as soon as we turn this into a dynamic movement, flat feet wreck the whole burrito. This drill will force you to squeeze the knees together and keep your weight on the inside of your feet.
4. Posture with your booty out to counter-balance your upper body
As I noted in point 2, you can see that my spine is tilted forward and over my disc. Sticking your butt out with bent knees creates a solid lower body counter-balance to the upper body that is rotating. If you’re trying this drill and you can’t maintain balance after you extend your arm forward, then stick your booty out.
5. Balance from start to finish
Once your brain knows that the body will remain balanced and in control from start to finish, it stops worrying about “What will happen next? I’ve got to protect the body. Where am I going?” and it relaxes to let you focus on disc angles and trajectory. Most importantly, it lets your muscles stay loose and fast. Next thing you know, you’re throwing accurate shots and your muscles are nice and chilled out.